Haiti cholera deaths reach 283: UN odious legacy
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Haiti faces countless severe problems. Hence, the latest cholera crisis is challenging the weak medical infrastructure of this country.
Cholera deaths recently reached 283 in Haiti. Thus, with many people hospitalized, the fear is the death toll will continue to rise.
The United Nations (UN) announced an emergency appeal for Haiti to contain the crisis. Hence, the UN appealed for $145 million in economic support. However, only 16 percent of the desired target is forthcoming.
Voice of America reports, “The U.N. said Thursday that 283 people have died from the disease, while 12,000 have been hospitalized. More than 14,000 suspected cases have been recorded. Since the outbreak, 155,000 people have been displaced, representing an 80% increase since August.”
The BBC reports, “Haiti had been cholera-free until 2010, when an outbreak spread from leaking sewage pipes from a United Nations base housing Nepalese peacekeepers.”
Insecurity in Haiti is high. Reuters reports, “Haitian gangs have expanded their territory since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The resulting violence has left much of the country off-limits to government and led to routine gun battles with police.”
Vast numbers of Haitians face an uphill struggle to survive in usual times. However, growing insecurity and criminality – along with the latest cholera crisis – are collectively pushing more people into a world of food insecurity.
UN AND CHARITY SCANDALS
Many in Haiti also have painful memories of past crimes by people connected to the UN and various charities. For example, many young girls were sexually abused by UN peacekeepers and were left to fend for themselves after becoming impregnated.
AP reports (2017), “In March, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and other personnel. But the proclamation had a depressingly familiar ring: More than a decade ago, the United Nations commissioned a report that promised to do much the same thing, yet most of the reforms never materialized… For a full two years after those promises were made, the children in Haiti were passed around from soldier to soldier. And in the years since, peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse the world over.”
Oxfam and other charities have also been involved in child abuse scandals in Haiti and other nations – similar to UN peacekeeping missions. The BBC says, “Claims first emerged in The Times last year that Oxfam employees, including former country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, used young prostitutes while based in Haiti after the earthquake.”
The initial cholera outbreak and sex scandals all connected to the UN further cements enormous mistrust. Hence, bridges need to be built to a higher level.
The UN was initially in denial about spreading cholera and killing approximately 8,300 Haitians. The New York Times (2012) reports: “In telling the truth, the U.N. could have gained the trust of the population and facilitated the fight against cholera,” said Dr. Renaud Piarroux, who led an early investigation into the outbreak. “But that was bungled.”
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